Translations of eLearning courses - Project Management

Hello eLearning Heroes!

I need you help for networking, I really enjoyed attending the DevLearn 2011 but had not enough time to find all the contacts and help I was looking for there...

We are impletementing SAP applications over the Group (20 famous luxury brands) and this will impact all the employees over the world: HR modules, Finance modules, Retail...etc...

We are in charge of developping elearning modules to support this big software deployment.

This means that all the modules that we will produce will be translated over 12 different languages!

I would then really appreciate to connect and network with elearning heroes which already had this experience of courses development and large translation project management.

I would be interested in Tips, good practices and experience.

Hope to read more from you soon!

Thank you,

Julie

12 Replies
Dragos Ciobanu

Hi, Julie

A bit of a stream-of-consciousness reply, but I hope some of it will be helpful...

I'm at the end of such a project (touch wood). We ended up with a lot of audio and text to localise (we used the slide notes area extensively for the transcripts). We went with a localisation company for the translation into many languages. We will then do our own in-house voice-overs.

The localisation company will handle some of the reformatting (translated text is of a different length) but I expect I will have to do quite a bit in addition, too. Animation synchronisation will be a tricky one - I speak the languages in question so I'll be ok I believe re-sync-ing everything, but you may want to find a localisation company that does everything for you... I am thinking that perhaps you could split a complex animated slide into several slides which correspond to units of meaning and only have a couple of animations. This way, folks see things appear almost exactly when they should do without you needing to be an expert in all 12 languages. If you ask the localisation company to take care of that, too, expect high costs (less stress for you, though, I guess ).

In the case of videos, we will stick voice-overs on top rather than subtitle them all because we didn't have time for that.

The SMEs gave me a number of PowerPoint files, some of which became Engage interactions. However, thanks to everything being in PPT, I could send the translation company the content in a format they could handle easily. We also sent a multilingual glossary to ensure consistency.

Using a Unicode font may not be particularly stylish, but will save you a lot of hassle later as not all fonts will handle the characters of your 12 languages.

Images may be a sensitive issue - it would be helpful if you had contacts native/familiar with the cultures your resources will end up in who could let you know if anything needs changing to avoid sparks ;)

Given the importance of the project, I wouldn't try to cut costs on things like proofreading the translation. Where you can save money is on DTP (localisation companies tend to charge quite a lot and if there are things you can do yourself, such as resizing boxes and the like, I would do them) and the translation schedule (needing a rushed translation job at the end of the project will result in short-deadline charges).

All in all, I would start with involving someone with experience of localisation into the storyboarding and rapid prototyping of the resource; a few folks in the target countries in a quick check of the concept and the artwork; a reputable localisation company to give them a heads-up on what's coming their way (they may have very good suggestions); simple, legible Unicode font; voice-overs and transcripts in the Notes area...

Hope this helps a little and good luck,

Dragos

PS: I would also have a private conversation with Articulate and ask whether Storyline will output content in XML format which will save a lot of copying and pasting and the troubles that come with that... Alternatively, if you already work with content in XML format (Kineo for instance do a lot of that as far as I'm aware), then even better (I didn't for this project and am bracing myself for dealing with the translations ;))

Sandra Lowe

Just from my own recent experience, I'd suggest the following:

1.  Finalize the English version first.  Once that's approved, the translation work can begin.  Otherwise the nightmare will be, "oh wait change this to that" and then you're stuck applying corrections to every single translated module.  I had 18 languages and they did make changes becuase the Legal Department dragged their feet for nearly two months.  I have a list of things that I have to do each and every translated module becase of changes made to the English version at the 11th hour.

2.  Use a single service for your translations.  It will become a nightmare if you try to use multiple agencies.

3.  Absolutely use in-country reviewers.  Identify 3-4 individuals that live in the country that natively speak the language of the module and have them watch/listen for translation errors.  I found this especially helpful for Hebrew, Arabic, and Romanian.  For Hebrew and Arabic, in-country review is helpful to ensure that nothing is backwards (to them).  Even the best translating services can get syntax wrong from time to time.

4.  Turn auto-correct off in your Quizmaker tool.  Some words in other languages may be auto corrected.  For example, in Romanian "sa", "fi", and "ti" are words.  Auto Correct turned them in to "as", "if", and "it" and it was too late to make the changes before launch (ouch!).

I'm sure I can go on and on but these are some biggies to get you going.

Allison Michels

Also wanted to share a blog post I wrote about the eLearning Pilot I did http://wp.me/pRqKi-1H - We ended up not translating it based on the results. However, we had multiple cultures and non-english speakers take it and provide great feedback. We did translate the supporting materials (job aids) attach to it, just not the course itself. 

Hope that helps! Good luck! 

Julie B.

Jeanette Brooks said:

Hi Julie! Sounds like a really cool project! Here's a good blog post with some great tips in it for building courses for non-English-speaking learners. Are you looking for translation specialists? Workflow tips? Other specific sorts of advice?


Thank You Jeannette!

Your answers are great help

BTW I was pleased to meet with Tom K., David and Mark at DevLearn 2011 but was really sorry not to be able to meet with you and thank you personally..!

Julie B.

Dragos Ciobanu said:

Hi, Julie

A bit of a stream-of-consciousness reply, but I hope some of it will be helpful...

I'm at the end of such a project (touch wood). We ended up with a lot of audio and text to localise (we used the slide notes area extensively for the transcripts). We went with a localisation company for the translation into many languages. We will then do our own in-house voice-overs.

The localisation company will handle some of the reformatting (translated text is of a different length) but I expect I will have to do quite a bit in addition, too. Animation synchronisation will be a tricky one - I speak the languages in question so I'll be ok I believe re-sync-ing everything, but you may want to find a localisation company that does everything for you... I am thinking that perhaps you could split a complex animated slide into several slides which correspond to units of meaning and only have a couple of animations. This way, folks see things appear almost exactly when they should do without you needing to be an expert in all 12 languages. If you ask the localisation company to take care of that, too, expect high costs (less stress for you, though, I guess ).

In the case of videos, we will stick voice-overs on top rather than subtitle them all because we didn't have time for that.

The SMEs gave me a number of PowerPoint files, some of which became Engage interactions. However, thanks to everything being in PPT, I could send the translation company the content in a format they could handle easily. We also sent a multilingual glossary to ensure consistency.

Using a Unicode font may not be particularly stylish, but will save you a lot of hassle later as not all fonts will handle the characters of your 12 languages.

Images may be a sensitive issue - it would be helpful if you had contacts native/familiar with the cultures your resources will end up in who could let you know if anything needs changing to avoid sparks

Given the importance of the project, I wouldn't try to cut costs on things like proofreading the translation. Where you can save money is on DTP (localisation companies tend to charge quite a lot and if there are things you can do yourself, such as resizing boxes and the like, I would do them) and the translation schedule (needing a rushed translation job at the end of the project will result in short-deadline charges).

All in all, I would start with involving someone with experience of localisation into the storyboarding and rapid prototyping of the resource; a few folks in the target countries in a quick check of the concept and the artwork; a reputable localisation company to give them a heads-up on what's coming their way (they may have very good suggestions); simple, legible Unicode font; voice-overs and transcripts in the Notes area...

Hope this helps a little and good luck,

Dragos

PS: I would also have a private conversation with Articulate and ask whether Storyline will output content in XML format which will save a lot of copying and pasting and the troubles that come with that... Alternatively, if you already work with content in XML format (Kineo for instance do a lot of that as far as I'm aware), then even better (I didn't for this project and am bracing myself for dealing with the translations ;))


Thank you very much for these very clear and basic good advices I will try to apply all along the project,

This is great that you shared this Dragos!

(this was a long email!)

Julie B.

Sandra Murray said:

Just from my own recent experience, I'd suggest the following:

1.  Finalize the English version first.  Once that's approved, the translation work can begin.  Otherwise the nightmare will be, "oh wait change this to that" and then you're stuck applying corrections to every single translated module.  I had 18 languages and they did make changes becuase the Legal Department dragged their feet for nearly two months.  I have a list of things that I have to do each and every translated module becase of changes made to the English version at the 11th hour.

2.  Use a single service for your translations.  It will become a nightmare if you try to use multiple agencies.

3.  Absolutely use in-country reviewers.  Identify 3-4 individuals that live in the country that natively speak the language of the module and have them watch/listen for translation errors.  I found this especially helpful for Hebrew, Arabic, and Romanian.  For Hebrew and Arabic, in-country review is helpful to ensure that nothing is backwards (to them).  Even the best translating services can get syntax wrong from time to time.

4.  Turn auto-correct off in your Quizmaker tool.  Some words in other languages may be auto corrected.  For example, in Romanian "sa", "fi", and "ti" are words.  Auto Correct turned them in to "as", "if", and "it" and it was too late to make the changes before launch (ouch!).

I'm sure I can go on and on but these are some biggies to get you going.


Merci so much!

I am keeping all your advices in my project charter and will make sure we keep following them!

thank you Sandra!

Julie B.

Allison Michels said:

Also wanted to share a blog post I wrote about the eLearning Pilot I did http://wp.me/pRqKi-1H - We ended up not translating it based on the results. However, we had multiple cultures and non-english speakers take it and provide great feedback. We did translate the supporting materials (job aids) attach to it, just not the course itself. 

Hope that helps! Good luck! 


Merci for this interesting post too Allison!

Tex Hale

In our company we need to translate the majority of our material, so I am looking for some ideas on how to easily manage this in Storyline.

I know you can export content for translation as a word doc or xliff but then I have to explain to the translation agency each time that they should only record the voiceover using the text with "Note" referenced against it.  I also tried publishing to Word, including layers and notes but not all layers contain "notes text" (the narration is what is showing on the slide).  It would be great if you could export just the notes without the "slide images".

What I would like to do is to replicate what happens in Articulate Presenter, where you export just the Notes without the graphical slide element.

Also as we do not include voiceover for quizzes, it would be good if we could produce the "notes" without all the quiz questions included.

Whenever I publish to Word, even though I just tick the NOTES box, it publishes everything in the Storyline file.  I then have to go through the Word doc deleting content that is not required for translation.

It's really frustrating.  I LOVE Storyline but is there anyway you can go one step further and make it an even more SUPER tool?

Apologies for ranting on, but I've had a very rough day and I need to take it out on someone .....  just kidding!  Has anyone got any solutions to my dilemna?  A million thanks in advance.